* Writers Play With Borrowed Forms

About the Book

If you would like to receive a copy of The Shell Game for review purposes, please contact Anna Weir at

“Daring, innovative, and mind-bending, this anthology showcases the best of what is arguably the most exciting form on the literary landscape today: the hybrid, hermit crab essay.”
—Kathy Fish, coauthor of Rift and author of Wild Life

“Virginia Woolf asked of the essay ‘simply that it should give pleasure.’ The Shell Game fulfills this request, even exceeds it, bringing startling diversity of subject, voice, and form. Each essay is a new surprise, a prettier shell than ordinary, demonstrating astonishing originality in mimicry and providing, for this reader at least, pure joy.”
—Patrick Madden, author of Sublime Physick and Quotidiana

An anthology of intriguing essays that borrow their forms from ordinary, everyday sources: a recipe, a crossword puzzle, a Craig’s List ad... This carefully chosen selection of beautifully written, thought-provoking essays tackles a broad range of subjects, including the secrets of the human genome, the intractable pain of growing up black in America, and the gorgeous glow residing at the edges of the autism spectrum. Surprising and delightful, the essays in this anthology are destined to become classics of this new and increasingly popular form.

PUBLISHER: University of Nebraska Press
FORWARD BY: Brenda Miller
AFTERWARD BY: Cheyenne Nimes
CONTRIBUTORS: Joey Franklin; Sarah McColl; Kathryn A. Kopple; Laurie Easter; Priscilla Long; Brian Oliu; Jennifer Metsker; Dinty W. Moore; Anushka Jasraj; Gwendolyn Wallace; Mary Peelen; Brenda Miller; Caitlin Horrocks; Judith Sornberger; Steve Fellner; Lee Upton; Ingrid Jendrzejewski; Cheyenne Nimes; Jenny Boully; Kim Adrian; Elizabeth Kerlikowske; David Shields; Judy Bolton-Fasman; Randon Billings Noble; Steve Edwards; Amy Wallen; Ander Monson; Karen Hays; Michael Martone.

Kim Adrian is the author of Sock (a Bloomsbury Object Lessons book) and of the forthcoming memoir The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet.

Brenda Miller directs the MFA in Creative Writing and the MA in English Studies at Western Washington University.

Cheyenne Nimes is a cross-genre writer currently working on poetry/nonfiction hybrids on the nature of evil and Jonestown. She won the Edwin Ford Piper Scholar Award and was a University of Iowa Art Museum resident writer.